Jim Sandman’s article, dishing out harsh criticism of law firm associate pay raises, did not endear him to ATL readers. In a near comments clusterf**k, he was condemned as the greediest of greedy Biglaw partners (along with other epithets not fit for printing here).
Well, maybe Sandman has gotten a bad rap. After all, he was public-spirited enough to serve as president of the D.C. bar. When we met him at this party, one of many charitable functions he attends, he didn’t have horns growing out of his head.
And now we hear that he’s leaving his lucrative partnership, to toil in the considerably less profitable precincts of the D.C. public school system. He’s accepted a position as General Counsel for the District of Columbia Public Schools, and he’ll also be a member of Chancellor Michelle Rhee’s senior leadership team to the DC School Board.
Read the A&P memo announcing Sandman’s departure, from firm chairman Thomas Milch, after the jump.
While you wait for more bonus announcements to trickle in, check out a benchslap from the nation’s capital. The Washington Examiner reports:
Furious over the city’s “stunning ignorance” of the crisis facing its special-education system, a federal judge has given the District of Columbia one week to come up with a cost-fixing schedule — or face contempt charges.
In an unusually caustic order, U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman has ordered State Superintendent Deborah L. Gist and schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee to come up with a policy for setting rates with the thousands of private schools and vendors with which it does business.
Judge Friedman had especially harsh words for the city’s counsel:
“The defendants’ response demonstrates a stunning ignorance of the history of [the] litigation and the operative orders issued by this court,” the judge wrote. “The only plausible explanation is that the attorneys whose names appear on the signature page … must not have read it. …”
* If you received Jesse Wegman’s invitation to join Shelfari, please accept his apologies. [NYO]
* Yet another law professor who’s out of touch with the real world. [TaxProf Blog]
* Going north of Westchester = Going south of the Mason-Dixon line? [QuizLaw]
* Is Hillary a Commie? [Althouse]
* Eh, who cares? She’s unstoppable! Polls show Hillary picking up more momentum, especially among younger voters, while Obama is losing his mojo. [Marc Ambinder]
We’re sorry to report that we haven’t heard serious and credible raise rumors lately. In fact, we’ve heard more gossip aboutlayoffs in recent weeks than about associate pay increases. The rumors of “NYC to 190″, which used to flood our email inbox, have gone the way of Testa Hurwitz.
But here is some reason for optimism. From the National Law Journal:
Nearly two decades ago, [Georgetown law professor] Philip G. Schrag said he saw the need to help law students with crippling law school debt….
Help is finally on the way with the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007. Passed by Congress on Sept. 7, the bill aims to help law students and other graduates with high debt through an income-based loan-repayment plan. The bill also would allow for loan forgiveness for qualifying employees after 10 years of service to government agencies or nonprofit organizations.
Tex Frank explains why this might be good news for some of you, at Overlawyered:
Bush has indicated he’d sign the bill.
The market currently reflects a private-public pay gap reflecting the fact that public jobs are generally considered to have better working conditions and that private-sector law firms need to offer substantially higher pay to encourage attorneys to work there. If the government is providing thousands of dollars of loan subsidies to government and non-profit attorneys, the private sector will need to raise its salaries to continue to compete, some of which will be swallowed by the partners, but most will be swallowed by the clients, who, increasingly facing bet-the-company litigation, have inelastic demand for top law firms. Too, as attorney salaries increase, and loans are subsidized by the government, law schools will be empowered to extract some of that surplus by raising tuition.
Winners: most attorneys, law school employees, and some clients of non-profits. Losers: taxpayers, clients, partners at non-top-tier firms.
Earlier today, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a controversial appearance at Columbia University. The decision to invite Ahmadinejad was defended by President Lee Bollinger, who criticized Ahmadinejad and his views while introducing him, but condemned by Columbia Law School Dean David Schizer.
Dean Schizer’s statement provides us with enough of a “law” hook to write about the controversy. Here’s what he had to say:
This event raises deep and complicated issues about how best to express our commitment to intellectual freedom, and to our free way of life. Although we believe in free and open debate at Columbia and should never suppress points of view, we are also committed to academic standards. A high-quality academic discussion depends on intellectual honesty but, unfortunately, Mr. Ahmadinejad has proven himself, time and again, to be uninterested in whether his words are true. Therefore, my personal opinion is that he should not be invited to speak. Mr. Ahmadinejad is a reprehensible and dangerous figure who presides over a repressive regime, is responsible for the death of American soldiers, denies the Holocaust, and calls for the destruction of Israel. It would be deeply regrettable if some misread this invitation as lending prestige or legitimacy to his views.
Our university is a pluralistic place, and I recognize that others within our community take a different view in good faith, and that they have the right to extend invitations that I personally would not extend. I know that we will learn from each other in discussing the difficult questions prompted by this invitation.
Do you agree with President Bollinger or Dean Schizer? Take our poll:
We’re not being sarcastic. This course, to be offered at Georgetown Law in spring 2008, sounds awesome. To the average law student, it’s probably way more interesting than securities regulation (or even ERISA — one of our favorite law school classes). [FN1]
From the GULC course catalog:
The Law of “24″ Professor W. Sharp LL.M Course 853 (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours
The award winning Fox Television drama series 24 explores America’s fictional response to international terrorism through the eyes of Jack Bauer, a U.S. counter-terrorism agent. Oftentimes without remorse or regard for the law, Agent Bauer is willing to do what has to be done when faced with the threat of kidnappings, assassinations, nuclear detonations, and bioterrorism on U.S. soil – despite traitors in his family, his unit, and the White House; partisan politics; sleeper cells; and hidden agendas.
This course provides a detailed understanding of a very wide-range of U.S. domestic and international legal issues concerning counterterrorism in the context of the utilitarian and sometimes desperate responses to terrorism raised by the plot of 24. Course requirements include active classroom discussion and a paper of approximately 25 pages.
If Jack Goldsmith’s new book is correct, it seems some members of the Bush Administration legal team might benefit from this class.
The instructor, adjunct professor Walter Sharp, sounds pretty badass. He’s a Naval Academy grad who currently serves as Associate Deputy General Counsel for International Affairs at the Defense Department. He previously served as Deputy Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Pretty cool!
[FN1] We followed, with interest and amusement, this recent spirited commenters’ debate over whether you can get a “real” legal education at Yale. For those of you who care, we offer some thoughts on that subject after the jump. The Law of “24″ [Georgetown University Law Center] Faculty bio: Walter Gary Sharp [Georgetown University Law Center]
* Sadly, the Nixon Peabody theme song didn’t make the cut. [TechnoLawyer]
* “Sonnenschein sued for millions by former partner.” [Legal Times]
* News you can use: “How much income can parents have before losing all financial aid for their kids’ college?” [TaxProf Blog]
* We’re late in linking to this, but here’s Blawg Review #124. [George's Employment Blawg via Blawg Review]
* We’re REALLY late in linking to this, but it’s timely once again in light of the imminent announcement (tomorrow) that he’s officially running for president. Here are some interesting reflections from Fred Thompson on the law and his career as a practicing lawyer. [Power Line]
As we have previously bitterly lamentedobserved, sometimes it seems like all the blessings of life are reserved for Supreme Court clerks. And they include not just $250,000 signing bonuses and top-shelf legal jobs, but luxury real estate, too.
This latest Lawyerly Lairs post looks at the expanding digs of Joel I. Klein (Powell) and his wife, Nicole K. Seligman (OT 1984/Marshall). From the New York Observer:
New York is a city of poshly-housed public servants.
The mayor owns two mansions in the East 70’s; the governor goes rent-free in a terraced Fifth Avenue apartment (it’s owned by his dad); development chief Robert Lieber has a new $7.25 million condo at Trump International; and even Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum is in the Beresford.
Now Schools Chancellor Joel Klein has bonus space on Park Avenue. He and his wife Nicole Seligman, a Sony executive vice president (and an ex-lawyer for both Oliver North and Bill Clinton) have paid $1.7 million for their second apartment at 95-year-old 565 Park Avenue.
Yes, that’s right — their second apartment in this venerable building. The couple already own the unit directly above their new acquisition. Hello, duplex!
(C’mon, get real: Did you really expect Klein and Seligman to slum it in a sub-$2 million apartment? As people have observed countless times in these pages, $2 million doesn’t buy you much in NYC.)
More details after the jump.
Earlier today, we posted the first installment of our recent interview with Dean Bernard Dobranski, of Ave Maria School of Law. You can access that part of the write-up, which includes background on current controversies at Ave Maria, by clicking here.
Now we bring you the second half of the interview. It appears after the jump.
We officially declare today to be Ave Maria School of Law Day here at ATL.
This morning, we wrote about a dubious recusal motion, seeking recusal of a judge who hired Ave Maria graduates as law clerks. And now we bring you more detailed discussion about the relatively new, Catholic law school, founded in 2000 by Domino’s Pizza mogul Tom Monaghan.
We’re not the only folks these days who are writing about Ave Maria School of Law, which has been embroiled in controversy for months now. The law school has been the subject of extensive (and generally unflattering) discussion, on such blogs as Fumare, Mirror of Justice, and AveWatch. The story has been picked up by online news sources such as Inside Higher Ed and the WSJ Law Blog.
So what’s the fuss all about? It’s a long and tortured history, but here’s the short version:
(1) the school is scheduled to move in 2009 to the new town of Ave Maria, Florida (the home of Ave Maria University, located outside Naples, FL, and described as “a sort of utopia for devout Catholics and others”);
(2) a number of faculty members vigorously oppose the move; and
(3) things have gotten ugly between these faculty members and the law school’s administration, led by Dean Bernard Dobranski.
In a recent telephone interview with ATL, Dean Dobranski offered his side of the story. You can check out our interview with him after the jump.
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
The traditional job application and interview process can be impersonal, and applicants often struggle to present themselves as more than just the sum of their GPAs, alma maters, and previous work history. ATL has partnered with ViewYou to help job seekers overcome this challenge. ViewYou NOW Profiles offer a unique way for job seekers to make a personal, memorable connection with prospective employers: introduction videos. These videos allow job candidates to display their personalities, interpersonal skills, and professional interests, creating an eDossier to brand themselves to potential employers all over the world. Check it out today!